Growing up, Dr. Larry McAfee watched his father saving the lives of people’s beloved animals at McAfee Animal Hospital (MAH). It was almost like becoming a veterinarian was in his blood. Then, in 1975, Dr. Larry joined the practice.
“Back then, I was living in California when dad (Dr. John) invited me to move back and be his partner,” Dr. Larry said. “I’ve had a lot of partners in my life and by far dad was the best partner I’ve ever had.”
Dr. Larry learned from the best. At that time, the MAH practice was 60% small animals and 40% large animals. As the practice evolved, the clinic changed to a small animal clinic.
“Dad loved what he did. I saw how much his clients respected him. There was no question I was going to be a veterinarian,” Dr. Larry said. “It just made an incredible impression upon me. People love their pets and bond with them. If you can make a sick pet better and send it home, the high is incredible.”
Dr. John retired from the practice in 1985, and Dr. Larry was then the sole veterinarian at the practice - until the seed for the next generation sprouted.
“At 3-years-old, my daughter Brooke started shadowing me at the office and became my (unofficial) veterinary assistant,” Dr. Larry said. “When she was growing up she used to play vet with her animals all the time. Brooke has always wanted to become a vet.”
Fast forward to 2010, when the MAH and legacy lives on as Brooke joins the practice.
“For Brooke to join the practice is everything. It meant so much to me that she wanted to become a vet,” Dr. Larry said. “If I died today, I’d die with a smile on my face because my daughter took over the practice. Brooke’s son is 4-years-old and he’s starting to show the same signs Brooke did at his age and wanting to help animals.”
Dr. Larry retired from being a practicing veterinarian in 2016, but still owns the clinic with partners Dr. Brook and Dr. Steve.
“I manage the clinic still and I stop by a few times a week to remind the doctors and staff how much they miss me,” he joked. “It’s important for me to be in there to ensure it’s running as efficient and humanly as possible.”
When he’s not at the clinic, you can find the retired veterinarian giving back to the communities MAH serves. Dr. Larry is a strong advocate for the United Way of Porter County.
“United Way touches everybody. It doesn’t matter how rich you are, everybody is touched by them,” Dr. Larry said. “My favorite event to participate in is Day of Caring and Take a Kid Fishing. Mike Blythe and I started Take a Kid Fishing more than 20 years ago. We get 35 mentors and they have more fun than the kids do. It’s my biggest day of the year. We take a child who’s never fished before and when they catch their first fish - it’s a hoot! It’s just an incredible feeling.”